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Dyeing Your Fibers

When planning to dye some or all of your fibers it is best to do the dyeing process just after washing the fleece (before carding) or after it is spun into yarn. I do not recommend dyeing roving. I am aware that many folks have success with dyeing rovings. However, I do not dye at the roving stage due to a higher risk of semi or fully felting the fibers. I find that even successfully dyed roving will need to be pre-drafted in order to spin well. We dye the washed fibers before carding.

Here at MFW, we use Pro Chem One Shot dyes I am not a professional dyer! By any means. All fleeces and fibers take the dyes differently and for me, this is the fun and interesting part of it. I rarely hit the color of the sample exactly. I prefer to intensely dye smaller amounts of fiber and then blend this with other non dyed fiber to achieve a unique blend of colored roving. There are several benefits to this method. If I don’t really like the dyed color we can blend it with something to alter that color. Say you have one pound of dyed bright turquoise blue wool. If you blend this with some percentage of white alpaca or wool then you create a color anywhere in the blue range down to a very light sky blue. If you blend it with some black alpaca you can create a darker blue all the way up to a very dark midnight blue. By adding any other natural color you will create something unique. This way you can create colors with a minimal expense and time of dyeing. Additionally, the dyeing can alter the hand or soft feel of the fibers. By not dyeing the whole batch, you can have enough non dyed fibers in the batch so as to keep a nice feel to the roving. I prefer to not dye alpaca simply due to the risk of it felting during the boiling/simmering. I have had good results dyeing mohair because it seems to keep its luster well. I also enjoy overdyeing natural colored wools, especially the greys. I regularly purchase very nice covered white fleeces at a discount due to a yolk or canary stain problem. These fleeces are ideal for washing and dyeing.

We can card the animal fiber that you have washed and dyed yourself or that you have purchased elsewhere. However, this needs to be animal fiber (no silk or nylon, etc.) and we will most likely need to re-rinse it and possibly rewash it. Your dyed fiber needs to be free of any lanolin and the dye needs to be rinsed well and set well. Reds are by far the most difficult colors to set. Red will always want to bleed and it is hard to exhaust the dye when using reds. If you send us dyed animal fibers in roving form then we will need to completely pull it apart and get it back into a full disarray in order to card it again. Our card does not accept any fibers in an aligned form and cannot properly card anything but picked open locks. So if your order includes any roving to be recarded we do charge for the time it takes to pull it all apart.

The charge for us to dye your fiber here is $15 per pound. You can choose colors from the ProChem One Shot selection on their website. Be sure to have clear dyeing and or blending instructions on your workorder for each batch. I do not guarantee any color matching. You need to be okay with this. I will attempt a color close to what you are asking for. Most of my dye customers are selling their roving so they give me some free rein to create some colors and blends that they will then sell. This way, no exact color match is needed. I really enjoy doing the dyeing but that does not mean I am that good at getting perfect colors!

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